5 things we learnt from last weekend’s Premier League fixtures

Whether you consider the Premier League to be thrilling for its tradition and predictability or the utterly random "you couldn't make it up" moments, there was evidence in favour of either viewpoint at the weekend. While, for example, Chelsea continued its solid winning streak, Leicester awoke from its usual slumber this season to record a spectacular comeback. Here are five things learnt, as reported by Press Association Sport and outlined on the BT Sport website.

The Blues leave Crystal Palace feeling... well, blue

Here's an interesting stat to chew over: in each Premiership season that Chelsea has topped at Christmas, the Blues have gone on to secure the title. It's certainly worth chewing over that as you look back at the side's recent 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

This means several crucial things for Antonio Conte's team: they have now amassed 11 consecutive victories, kept clean sheets in 9 of those matches, and built up a 7-point lead over second-placed Manchester City. As Chelsea's Twitter account has proudly declared, the club has scored 25 goals while conceding a mere 2 goals across those 11 fixtures.

That's sparkling form whichever way you look at it - and even Diego Costa's fifth booking, which means that he is now out of the Boxing Day clash with Bournemouth, has done little to blight the current optimism around Chelsea's 2016/17 campaign. Should Chelsea win the Premiership title, it will be their fifth so far - and their second in three consecutive seasons.

The Gunners misfire against rival challengers for the title

Arsenal might be nicknamed the Gunners, but their performance against Manchester City at the weekend suggests that they could do with more than a little target practice. Arsène Wenger's team lost 2-1 and threw away a lead for the second time in as many matches.

City's turnaround could have arisen as a result of a stirring half-time talk by gaffer Pep Guardiola. That's because it was in the second half that the Sky Blues really showed their mettle - and home advantage might also have played a part, with the match taking place at the Etihad Stadium.

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech has especially good reason to be displeased - as, in an unwanted first for his career, he has now chalked up eight Premiership games in a row without a clean sheet. After the match, he understandably despaired: "We wanted to get as many points as possible this week, we have none - we need to concentrate and go back to winning games".

The North Londoners indeed need to get their act into gear quickly to prevent their title hopes fading even further into the distance. And they could do with sipping some of the same half-time tea that Guardiola probably gave his players after the half-time whistle blew.

Leicester weren't to be outfoxed this time

Leicester took many people by surprise as they clinched the Premiership title last season. However, since then, the Foxes have looked less like the formidable force of cinematic behemoth 20th Century Fox and more like they are playing a rather haphazard game of Foxy Bingo. Yes, their results have been all over the shop, leaving fans wondering where the next victory will come from.

However, foxes - yes, we mean the animals - are known for their cunning, and Leicester certainly showed some of that in their weekend stint at Stoke. The team fell two goals behind and even lost a man after Jamie Vardy was sent off, leaving a Potters victory looking like a foregone conclusion.

Except that it wasn't. In the last 15 minutes, Leonardo Ulloa and Daniel Amartey clocked up goals with the efficiency that would more typically be expected by their boss Claudio Ranieri's former side Chelsea. No wonder he hailed his "amazing" team in a post-match interview. Now, his team must demonstrate that this return marks the beginning of a more long term recovery.

An especially Paw show for one referee

Nonetheless, it wasn't all smiles for Ranieri at the bet365 Stadium. He was disgruntled with a frankly baffling decision by referee Craig Pawson. On Twitter, Gary Lineker expressed amazement that even the Foxes' usually cool Italian manager was fired up by Pawson's judgement.

In fact, it was the second dubious call by the 37-year-old in the same week. Remember when, at Manchester United's midweek fixture at Crystal Palace's Selhurst Park, Pawson opted not to give the Red Devils' Marcos Rojo an early bath for a two-footed charge at Palace's Wilfried Zaha?

Well, a mere three days later, the same referee judged Vardy's 28th-minute tackle on Stoke striker Mame Biram Diouf worthier of a dismissal. You can re-watch both incidents for yourself, but we think most people would agree that it was a week to forget for the ref.

A surprising Man of the Match for West Ham

You know that a match has been far from the usual fare when it isn't even a human being that wins the Man of the Match accolade. Following West Ham's narrow and controversial defeat of Hull, the Hammers' official Twitter account declared that, following a vote amongst the fans, 57% handed the Man of the Match title to... "The Post". Yes, the goalpost.

Maybe we shouldn't be so surprised, considering that the post did prevent Andrew Robertson and Dieumerci Mbokani providing what would have been some much-needed cheer for relegation-threatened Hull. It even stood in the way of a Mark Noble own goal.

It was the kind of terrible luck that Hull really could do without at the moment - and it's not hard to imagine the true extent of the anguish that set in among fans when, at the London Stadium, the home side was controversially awarded a penalty.

Noble stepped up and successfully converted it, leaving Hull... well, at rock bottom as far as their position in the table goes, but still only three points away from beating the drop zone. The relegation fight is, at this early stage, even more open than the title race.